The University of Waterloo says celebrity astronaut Chris Hadfield, known for his zero-gravity crooning on the International Space Station, will begin teaching in its aviation program in the fall of 2014.
"We are delighted to welcome Chris Hadfield to the University of Waterloo as a member of our faculty," said the Ontario university's president and vice-chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students and researchers to work with, and learn from, one of the greatest Canadians of recent times.”
The university said Hadfield’s first role on campus will be to conclude his participation in research on heart health in space. The research, led by professor Richard Hughson, is examining why some astronauts are prone to fainting spells when they return to Earth by predicting how they recover from rapid changes in blood pressure.
Hadfield will also be teaching and advising in the school’s aviation programs starting in the fall of 2014.
The retired astronaut released a statement through the University of Waterloo:
"It is with great delight that I have accepted the opportunity to again be a part of the University of Waterloo. My time there as a grad student was a vital factor in the later successes I had as a test pilot and astronaut, and I’m very pleased to be able to return and give back as a professor. My wife and I were married in Waterloo, owned our 1st house there, our eldest child was born in Kitchener, and thus it is definitely a homecoming. I greatly look forward to working with the students and research staff, and hope to be able to add to what is an internationally recognized, top-notch Canadian university," Hadfield wrote.
Hadfield will give a guest lecture in December this year at the university, according to Ian McKenzie, the school's director of aviation.
“As you would expect for a man who has just returned to Earth after five months in space, Chris has a very busy schedule,” said McKenzie. “We are excited that he is willing to share his extensive career knowledge and experience in aviation with our faculty and students when he is able.”
In 1982, Hadfield studied as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council postgraduate in the school's faculty of engineering, and he was the keynote speaker for the launch of the University of Waterloo's aviation program in 2007.
He and his wife also married in Waterloo in 1981, and their eldest son was born in Kitchener in 1983.